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All you need to know in terms of story is that on Thanksgiving two young daughters from separate families are abducted and the main suspect is a man with the IQ of a ten year old. When the police fail to find any evidence linking him to the crime he is let go and eventually picked up by one of the girls fathers who kidnaps and begins to the torture the man for information before time runs out.
You really don’t need to know anymore than that as one of the great things about this film is trying to distinguish what’s relevant amongst all the twists and turns it takes. In fact if you haven’t seen any trailers or marketing for Prisoners I suggest you avoid it completely and just enjoy it with a fresh pair of eyes.
At nearly two and a half hours, the film still manages to fly by and not a moment is wasted in setting up character or plot due to an excellent screenplay by Aaron Guzikowski who crafts the story well, gradually revealing to us what’s truly going on.
His script is complimented well with the direction of Denis Villeneuve and cinematography by Roger Deakins of Skyfall fame who bring rain, snow and an overall dark atmosphere to the story.
The performances throughout are all fantastic but the main two which defiantly deserve the Oscar buzz they are getting are Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. Granted it took me a while to get past the whole Wolverine thing but Jackman does great work as the father who gets in too deep after torturing the supposed child abductor. His character is one which I didn’t know whether to feel sorry for or not and he plays the moral ambiguity well.
It’s Jake Gyllenhall who I really loved though as the twitchy detective Loki who struggles to solve the case. It’s an understated and subtle performance but will hopefully win him a few awards in the new year.
It’s these superb performances along with it’s fantastic story that make Prisoners unmissable. Akin to David Fincher’s Zodiac, it’s a thinking persons thriller filled with nail biting tension.